A candidate for an up-coming council by-election has urged the electorate not to vote for her in an unusual turn of events.

Joanne Matheson is one of seven candidates standing in the Fort William and Ardnamurchan by-election on December 2.

It follows the death of Councillor Ian Ramon, one of 4 Councillors representing the Fort William and Ardnamurchan Ward.

Ms Matheson stood for election in 2017 and said she intended to do so again but says family health issues and starting a new business in the past 18 months had taken up "increasing amounts of her time."

She said: "I realised that if a by-election in Ward 21 was to arise I would not be in a position to stand."


However, when the deadline for nominations arrived, she was only aware of one other candidate, Dr Kate Willis of the Scottish Green Party - and felt that the area deserved a greater choice of candidate so put her name forward.

There are now six candidates, "some of whom will have the time, interest and commitment to undertake the job as it should be", she said.

Ms Matheson, who is an Independent, was unable to remove her name from the ballot paper because the deadline had passed.

She owns a craft business, Hand Made Highland and is the chairwoman of Acharacle Community Council.

She told the Lochaber Times: "Please look beyond party political affiliation and consider which of our candidates has the time and interest in working hard for you and our area.

"At some point, I hope that will be me, but this time please don't vote for me."

The other six candidates are; Mark Drayton, Sarah Fanet, SNP, Roger Liley, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Andy McKenna, independent, Ruraidh Stewart, Conservative and Kate Willis, Green Party.

However, Ms Matheson said she would do her utmost to fulfil the job brief if she is elected.

A spokesman for Highland Council said the deadline for withdrawal of nomination was on October 29 as outlined in the local authority's statutory timetable.

He added: "The details of any candidates who by the close of withdrawals remain validly nominated must be printed on the ballot papers.

"If a candidate has not withdrawn by the deadline, their name must go forward."